Staff Picks At Raytown
October 05, 2010
Have you read anything good lately?
Here’s a list of good reads submitted by staff at the Raytown Branch:
Beth Hoffman, Saving CeeCee Honeycutt: A Novel
When her mother dies, 12-year-old CeeCee is sent to live with great-aunt Tootie in Savannah. Descriptions of the characters are charming. It's a good summer read, light and refreshing. I always wonder how children are so resilient. Mary M.
Pat Conroy, South of Broad
Descriptions of Charleston, S. C. are enough to make me want to buy an airline ticket. Conroy paints a picture of Leo and his friends in the late '60's. I could not put it down as I love everything Conroy has written, including his cookbook. One can even find a recipe for the cookies noted in the beginning chapters. Mary M.
Helen Simonson, Major Pettigrew's Last Stand
There is a long wait for this book. Set in small town in England, it's atouching story of friendship between widower and a Pakistani shopkeeper. Although it is noted as a romance, I would say it's just a nice story about family conflict. Mary M.
Jeannette Walls, Half Broke Horses: A True-Life Novel
It's a well-written story of Jeannette's grandmother, Lily. Could be said to be a prequel to The Glass Castle, but can also stand on its own. I am amazed by how women survived in another era which was most difficult. Mary M.
Martha Grimes, Hotel Paradise, Cold Flat Junction and Belle Ruin
Martha Grimes has several titles in a series about a detective, and I have read a three book series about 12 year old Emma Graham whose family owns the Paradise Hotel, where Emma has to make salads for dinner, and wait on a grumpy old woman who complains about nearly everything. Emma is friends with the town's sheriff, and has been paying a little bit too much attention to murders that have happened in and around town, so much so that she ends up solving them. The 3 titles, in order, are Hotel Paradise, Cold Flat Junction and Belle Ruin. There are twists and turns along the way, and plenty of fun characters you'll get to know, such as Will and Mill, Emma's older brother and his best friend who are always writing plays to perform for the town. They are very secretive and never let Emma in on what they're up to, but that's okay, because she has a place of her own she likes to call "The Pink Elephant". There she can get away from the craziness of the day, and dream off into her own little world. I enjoy the Martha Grimes stories because they are light-hearted and funny, and I totally fell in love with Emma. She is a smart and funny little girl. I also like the mystery aspect of these stories as well. Jennifer P.
Carson McCullers, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
Another author I came across a while back is Carson McCullers. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter is the first book I read of hers. It is about a town of misfits whose lives intertwine in various ways. They are all lonely people searching for something in their lives to make them happy, but they don't really find it until they find each other. The book touches on various forms of racism, which it seems all of the characters are victims of in their own way. I highly recommend this title as well as anything else by the author. I have read several of her books, and have enjoyed them all. The story is true to life, and spoke to me in a real life way about the basic struggles that all humans go through. I could identify with the characters in a basic way. I found it to be a sad story, but also uplifting in certain parts. That's what real life is like, right?! Jennifer P.
Jon Krakauer, Into Thin Air
A story about the ill-fated, deadly climb on Mount Everest in May 1996. The storm that hit the summit killed five of the most experienced climbers of Everest. This is a personal account of the author’s ordeal. I really liked this book because I could tell how deeply this experience touched him. He literally had to watch his fellow teammates die from frostbite and other maladies while he could do nothing to save them from the savage storm. April E.